What do you want to learn this year?
Is it hard to list just one thing?
Is it hard to list just a few things?
If you’re like me, you have an ever-growing mental list of knowledge you’d like to expand, experiences you’d like to have, and books you’d like to read. In fact, you may have a hard time focusing on one topic for very long without immersing yourself in another.
Current post-secondary educational institutions appear to contradict themselves. You have to pick a major, a focus, but also take a variety of classes so you can graduate with a supposed well-rounded education. Despite participating in one of these programs, I did not graduate feeling very well-rounded.
In my recent interview with Jeff Sandquist of Intentionally Wandering, we talked about the role curiosity plays in our lives. I brought the conversation back to my students (surprised?) and explained that, instead of producing a class of students who can regurgitate facts, I aim to produce a class of lifelong learners each year—students who, when left alone, feel an urge to learn, explore, and discover. In fact, I expect learning to be at the top of their list of priorities. It’s certainly at the top of mine.
Now, I’m back in one of those institutions, earning a Masters in Education. I’ve had a few professors suggest I apply for a PhD program, also focused in some vein of education. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea; I wholly believe in a certain level of professional development to enhance my current field of practice and stay abreast of new research and methodology. And, of course, being “Dr. Audrey” is definitely appealing.
But I’ve found that I no longer want to expand vertically; I want to expand laterally.
I no longer want to be an expert; I want to be a jack-of-all-trades.
Or, at least, a jack-of-multiple-trades.
I no longer want to be a specialist; I want to be a generalist.
I do not want to limit my curiosity to one area. Life is just too short for any self-imposed limitations.
From now on, I’m going to aim for limitless.
Photograph © Dino Reichmuth